I would be interested in knowing if any posters here are professionals in any type of field that would require travel. That is are there attorneys that may be required to travel to participate in a case, or doctors who may be asked to travel to lecture, treat, operate. Authors, motivational speakers who may go on the lecutre circuit....
Are these professionals right in assuming the client will pay their airfare, hotel, meals, a per diem to cover lost work time (as in the case of the attorney, doctor)etc., a fee for their services?
I'm really getting sick and tired of the assumption that professional dancers are "less than" because "it's just dancing." Yes, people DO take more lessons before a competition, but one or two people taking more lessons (and in some cases very busy professionals don't have time to accomodate many more lessons) doesn't justify the lost "in studio" time. Yes the instructors who have "shining star" students build a nice reputation, but outside of a VERY VERY few Pro/Am couples, there aren't enough newcomer, preliminary bronze, bronze or even silver "superstar" students to promote a teacher's reputation enough to build his/her clientele singficantly enough to justify lowering his/her competition fees. Let's face it, theses competitions are most often times NOT in the instructor's home city -- how many lower level amateurs are ready to face the financial burden of TRAVELING to take lessons from a "superstar" teacher (and how many superstar teachers are going to take on a lower level competitive student who may not be a ladies A former ballerina/gymnast with super flexibility, dance background, gorgeous petite figure that looks as good nearly naked as clothed, have the bucks to travel every weekend and buy the most expensive haute couture costumes etc)??
In some cases the instructors in question are either A) the main (or only) instructor in the studio or B) own a studio. Whilst out of the studio expenses continue -- rent, electricity, water, etc. If the teacher is an "independent floor rental teacher" then it seems fair to look at the average number of lessons per day and determine (after comp fees) what is missed income and some portion of that be compensated. Some instructors have to PAY their studio or franchise organization a percentage, that has to be figured in as well.
YES DanceSport is an expensive hobby, so is golf, tennis, figure skating, horseback riding and other competitive events. If you don't like the way your instructor/studio charges find another. If you don't like paying for gowns, make them yourself, if you don't like the system -- find something in which you feel comfortable. If you don't like the way competitions are run DO ONE YOURSELF -- investigate the possibilies, find out how to get NDCA registration, learn the rules, shop hotels or convention facilities, price food, beverage, rooms, find out how much it costs to rent a competition size dance floor on a daily basis, talk and book judges, talk to printers to find out how much it costs to put together promotional materials, shop around for mailing lists, look at postage for mailing promotional materials, look into professional DJ's for the event, scruitneers, be sure you get comp manager also.....oh and don't forget all the little extras that people usually expect -- water stations, snacks for competitiors, sweat towels, competent deck captains, MCs that are not only efficient (keep the comp on time) but are entertaining AND possess the ability to speak several languages fluenly so as not to mispronouce anyone's name -- yeah, do it yourself.
I have run many horse show competitions and they are a nightmare compared to dance ones. Imagine all those things mentioned for dance competitions but add in trying to find stabling for people's horses, plus making allowances for weather and much more. Try and find judges that have not given lessons to any of the people in the competition that they are going to be judging, which means bringing people in from europe and trying to put them up and get them around. How would you like to pay all that money out for the competition and flying in and paying judges only to have it rain and it is called off. I always tell organizers they are doing a good job and how I appreciate what they do. I tell the volunteers this too. I would say that there are a lot of teachers out there who are not fleecing their students but many are. I have counted up how much some of the teachers are making as they take each of their students out on the floor. Some have made over 5 grand and then won the top teacher award too. The student has been put in as many dances as possible no matter if they are able to dance them or not so that the points and fees add up. These students paid a loss income fee to the instructor and a per dance fee and it was just to do a demonstration since at least 90% of the categories are uncontested. Pro/Am is a good thing and I'm sure there are a lot of honourable instructors out there but to think that the Pro/Am rip off scheme isn't out there too is having your head in the sand. I think the instructor should be compensated for their losses, thats not an issue, but they should not be putting students into anything possible just to make a fast buck. I have an idea for Elise and the others. Tell the competition organizers that you will go to their competition but you do not want a Top Teacher Award but rather a Top Student, or Top Studio award where the money won is split among the students. This would keep the instructors from putting students into anything possible to make some quick points and give the students something to go for. If the instructors are going to be fairly compensated for for their losses and then some then surely they don't need to pocket even more. The competition is about the stuent, not the instructor. They are a hired hand and the awards should not be focused on them. Any instructor who cares about their students would agree the awards should be set up for the student since "they" are the reason for the competition and should have some sort of compensation for their expenses. If an instructor thinks otherways it is probably because they are looking at Pro/Am as the pot of gold. The amount of money the student puts out they deserve to go for a cash award, not the teacher. If students stick together they can get the organizers to change this since they are a very powerful voice, more than they know. Competitions are run on Pro/Am fees so organizers want to keep them happy.
So then Horse shows are about the horses, not the riders. Are the riders/trainers just hired hands then? Do the horses win the prize moeny -err would it be better to give them prize feed. No glory for the riders/trainers, in fact why have them? They're just "hired hands" right??
I think the "hired hand" comment was really insenstive and off base. These "hired hands" work tirelessly on lessons helping the students, teaching them, listening to the woes of their personal lives, having the students hang on them until they learn not to, putting up with the strained muscles, sore feet, advising on costuming, make up, hair, training the student how to walk on and off the floor, listening to one student complain because he/she didn't get first place and how he/she is SOOOO much better than the rest, how the judges are blind etc etc etc and much much more. So at a competition, then these "hired hands" should be just that, an implement? Yes the students should get more than a sticker and yes there should be more "scholarship" categories for ALL levels, an equitable system so that everyone can compete, but realize the more money that comes back, the more that has to go in.
I agree there are instructors who put their students in any possible category to gain Top Teacher awards, one such teacher admitted this in an interview. This being public knowledge then A) shouldn't students be wary of such teachers and B) should those students put their feet down (pun intended) and say NO to excessive entries?
It certainly takes TWO TO TANGO. I haven't seen any instructors hold guns to their students head making them walk on the floor and do these entries. If it's sending these students to the poor house then they should exercise their right to say NO!
Don't you think the power of the student is in the relationship with the teacher also. The consumer has the right to say NO and change instructors. There are LOTS of great ethical teachers. I believe there are alot of Amateurs who believe that they will "Win" if they are dancing with a "Name." The "names" that are seen are generally the ones with students in every heat, every dance etc etc --all the things everyone complains about, yet they want to dance with THOSE instructors.....